The New York Police Department plans to pull all six of its detectives from a joint task force with the FBI that investigates armed bank robberies, says the New York Times. The detectives, now assigned to FBI headquarters in Lower Manhattan, would be redeployed to police units around the city to focus on broader crime issues. Officials have emphasized that the detectives would still be available to the Joint Bank Robbery Task Force on an as-needed basis.
With the department's head count shrinking by 6,000 officers in the last decade and bank robberies reaching low levels, police officials said it made more sense to use the detectives differently. “They can be better deployed working major cases throughout the five boroughs,” said spokesman Paul Browne. The city is experiencing a surge in the number of armed bank robberies, including seven attributed to Marat Mikhaylich, who has been called the Holiday Bandit for the heists that began to increase in frequency around Christmas. One New York Police official called the planned change “a bad thing. This was the model for FBI-local law enforcement task forces, and it's been effective. I think there is a concern that if this happens, that effectively indicates the end of a successful 32-year arrangement.”